Navigating the devil's triangle

The intersection of ADA, FMLA and workers' compensation laws can be complicated

One of the most common employment law mistakes made by roofing contractors is not understanding how the Americans with Disabilities Act, Family Medical Leave Act and workers' compensation laws intersect when addressing instances where an injury or medical condition affects an employee's job performance.

It's not uncommon for a roofing worker to be injured on or off the job and become unable to return to work for a period of time or able to return to work but with restrictions. In either scenario, not knowing which laws apply can result in an employee filing a lawsuit seeking significant damages, potentially also costing your company thousands of dollars in attorneys' fees. Both scenarios implicate three of the most troublesome areas of the law for construction employers.

You, as an employer, need to consider ADA, FMLA and state workers' compensation laws, as well as the intersection and interplay between them, which sometimes is referred to as the devil's triangle. The proper way to navigate through the devil's triangle is to understand your company's obligations and employees' rights under each law.